Best Of Utah 2014: Nightlife | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City
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Best of Utah

Best Of Utah 2014: Nightlife



Best Classic Club
Club 90
This spacious oasis has a motto that’s held true since the club’s opening in 1979: “There’s a place for everyone, and it’s at the Nine-O.” Club 90 is the south-valley destination for a night of dancing, throwing back shots of tequila, eating bacon-wrapped pickles and playing golf—yes, golf—on one of the game room’s two simulators. The bar also boasts areas expansive enough to host parties of up to 200, and starts serving breakfast daily at 10 a.m. You can work off some of those calories back at the simulator, which offers 89 courses, including Pebble Beach. So when you’re sick of the city, go south, friends, go south.
9065 S. Monroe St., Sandy, 801-566-3254,
2. City Club
3. The Westerner

Best Place to See a Burlesque Show
Bar Deluxe
Bar Deluxe is one of those venues that can get away with just about anything. The shows at this State Street entertainment joint run the gamut through metal, punk, hip-hop, soul—even burlesque. Yes, burlesque—you know, feather boas, fire jugglers, ribbon dancers and, of course, scantily clad, tattooed ladies. If there’s one place to witness that amazing spectacle, it’s Bar Deluxe, which at least once a month hosts fantastic national and local acts like the Salt City Sirens, The Dolls & Gents and Nobody’s Baby.
666 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2914,

Best Music With Your Meat
Pat’s Barbecue

As if the smoked brisket and ribs weren’t enough of a siren song, this barbecue joint also features killer local acts playing music every weekend from 7 to 9 p.m. Though one would normally have to wait till at least 10:30 p.m. at a bar or venue to hear the trucker-punk stylings of the Utah County Swillers or the sweet Americana crooning of The Hollering Pines, these bands and others regularly hold down the fort during dinnertime at Pat’s, providing meaty rock and blues to accompany the savory items on the menu.
155 W. Commonwealth Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-484-5963,


The Green Pig Pub

Best Place to Meet Someone
The Green Pig Pub
With the sheer amount of traffic that passes through The Green Pig Pub’s doors on a daily and nightly basis, it would be impossible not to meet someone at this downtown hotspot. Whether it’s downstairs watching the games or taking in the Monday Blues Jam, or upstairs enjoying the view from the rooftop patio with a cocktail, there’s a wide swath of folks to get acquainted with—and share a meal with, as The Green Pig serves some of the most delectable appetizers and entrees in the zip code. This is where the people are; come make some new friends.
31 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-7441,
2. Gracie’s
3. Whiskey Street

Best Game Cave
A Bar Named Sue

Sure, you can shoot the shit over a pitcher of beer and a basket of Sue’s fried ravioli, but true bar friendships are formed through (friendly) competition. Both Bar Named Sue locations—the east-bench mainstay and its relatively new State Street sister—offer free games, all day, every day; State Street has pool, darts and shuffleboard in the main room, while the cozy game room at the Highland Drive classic also features a pingpong table and arcade games like Street Fighter II, giving it a nice college dorm-room feel. This come-as-you-are watering hole is a conducive environment for barstool strangers to become bosom buddies.
3943 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-274-5578; 8136 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-3222,

Best Cocktails
Back when Bar-X first opened its doors in 1933 (the year Prohibition was repealed), it was a union bar, the type of watering hole with no women’s bathroom and lukewarm bottles of beer as the only drink option. Well, while the current Bar-X harkens to the past, it’s a much swankier one, thanks to a facelift a few years back. The classy speakeasy vibe is matched by delicious, handcrafted cocktails—both classics and spins on old favorites—that make a night at Bar-X an experience. Don’t miss Bar-X’s perfect Sazerac, made with whiskey, sugar and Peychaud’s bitters, and served in an absinthe-coated glass.
155 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-2287,
2. Zest Kitchen & Bar
3. The Red Door


No Name Saloon & Grill

Best Park City Club
No Name Saloon & Grill
The No Name Saloon & Grill is a thriving Park City haunt thanks to its role in continuing a long tradition of boomtown debauchery. Whereas the weary silver prospectors of Park City’s frontier era might have come down from the hills to unwind at a Main Street tavern, today’s generation come off the hills after mining the powder to relax and toss back a few in the bustling, rustic-styled No Name. And with its juicy buffalo burgers, frosty beers and classic cocktails, plus shuffleboard and a rooftop patio, the No Name is a bar where out-of-towners feel as welcome as the locals.
447 Main, Park City, 435-649-6667,
2. Downstairs
3. Park City Live

Best Theme Night
Fetish Ball, Area 51

Whatever it is that tickles your fishnets, you’ll probably be able to find it at Area 51’s Fetish Ball, held on the last Saturday of every month. The 18-and-over costume party covers pretty much everything that’s ever been featured in a Robert Rodriguez film—zombies, BDSM, vampires, gas masks … it’s all on the platter. Vendors, fetish demos, two full bars, three patios and three dance floors will fulfill all of your freaky desires.
451 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-534-0819,
2. Dance Evolution, Metro Bar
3. The Spazmatics, Liquid Joe’s

Best Surprise Cinema
Burt’s Tiki Lounge

You never know what you’re going to get at Burt’s Tiki Lounge. One night, a heavy-metal band could be onstage treating long-haired headbangers to a raucous show. On the next, a local band with a wide following will pack the place. Other nights, maybe seven people are seated at the bar, eyes fixed on a TV screen. The bartender, too, is into the movie, quite possibly Godzilla vs. Mothra (the staff collection is eclectic). If the movie isn’t your thing, take a stroll around the place. The walls and ceiling are covered with an array of ephemera that could keep a casual drinker occupied for days. There’s a pool table upstairs, but the busty naked mermaid painted on the wall makes it almost impossible to shoot straight.
726 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-521-0572


Whiskey Street

Best New Nostalgia
Whiskey Street

Back when Salt Lake City was filled with hard-core drinkers, loose women and bearded men who would say things like “Sir, I say sir!”, Brigham Young christened Main Street with the appropriate nickname Whiskey Street. And you’ll feel that you’ve stepped back into the past—well, a cleaner, shinier version of the past—the moment you walk into the vast Whiskey Street, with its gleaming wood and rows of high-end whiskeys. Featuring well-crafted traditional cocktails and a menu of great upscale pub food like the short-rib grilled-cheese sandwich, Whiskey Street is quickly becoming downtown’s favorite spot for feeling nostalgic.
323 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-433-1371,

Best Sports Surround Sound
Dick N’ Dixie’s

Dick N’ Dixie’s has a little bit of everything: a pair of pool tables, cheap beer, swanky beer, a photo booth and one of those digital jukeboxes. But when it comes to watching sports, specifically Utah Utes football, Dick N’ Dixie’s takes the cake. The key to this bar’s place in many a sports fan’s heart is the sound. Jukeboxes and the terrible music usually favored by youngsters these days are jettisoned in favor of that college-football-crowd roar, and the television-less patrons who visit the bar to watch football appreciate this. Of course, Dick N’ Dixie’s is also a nice place to visit for all of the other stuff that happens at bars. But when the Utes take the field, you’ll find more than a few fans huddled there, cans of Coors glued to hands, watching and listening to the game.
479 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3556


The Tap Room

Best New Old Neighborhood Bar
The Tap Room

The Tap Room has been a Sugar House staple for decades, and January saw the second move for the bar since it opened in the ’40s. There’s a sentimental soft spot for the Tap’s old basement digs, where they’d poured brews since 2002, but they brought that local-watering-hole vibe along in the move to Windsor Street. The new location allows for expanded indoor seating (tables!) and a patio that’s spacious yet more secluded than the hustle & bustle of its former Highland Drive home, giving patrons space to grab a drink after work or get rowdy on the weekends.
2021 S. Windsor St., Salt Lake City, 801-484-6692,

Best Dance Club
Metro Bar
Just about every day of the week, the Metro party planners have something insane in the works, whether that’s a night of Dance Evolution—Utah’s longest running all-request dance party—a contestant from RuPaul’s Drag Race showing up for the LGBT-friendly Fusion Saturdays, or the Disco Brunch on Sundays. With all that—plus live touring bands, dance groups, art shows, pillow fights, oil wrestling and, of course, a solid rotation of great DJs— Metro Bar makes it easy to get down on the dance floor.
540 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-652-6543,
2. Area 51
3. Habits

Best Forever Young Bar
The Canyon Inn

Bold and brassy, The Canyon Inn is an institution of both après ski and summer nights that just doesn’t seem to grow old. Spending a night at The Canyon Inn—located at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon—isn’t just a matter of enjoying a shot and a few cheap beers; it’s an opportunity to watch a typically good-humored crowd dance to a raucous blues band or shoot the breeze out on the patio. With its inventive and generously sized pizzas and seasoned bar staff, The Canyon Inn is a place to let your hair down and celebrate that the night is forever young.
3700 Fort Union Blvd., Salt Lake City, 801-943-6969

Best Place to See ’Em Before They’re Cool
The Urban Lounge

Hate to say it, brah, but that band you just “discovered” probably played at The Urban Lounge two years ago. Will Sartain and Lance Saunders, owners of S&S Presents, have the keenest ears in town, and know exactly which diverse acts Salt Lakers need to witness live. Where else can you see Juicy J one night and Sleigh Bells the next, plus free shows from some of the best local bands in the valley, all in one week?
241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-746-0557,

Best Hidden Charmer
The Hog Wallow

Nestled in a grove of trees at the bottom of a narrow valley, The Hog Wallow has a charm that is truly unique. The Wallow’s range of gourmet pizzas—the Surf & Turf, with shrimp, sausage and onion, is a particular delight—is the perfect pairing for the music from local roots bands that play Wednesday through Saturday nights. The rustic bar feels like home the moment you step inside the Swiss-style cabin, and you’ll desperately wish that the leafy back patio could be part of your home.
3200 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, 801-733-5567,

Best Gay Club
There are a lot of factors that go into a perfect gay club: bears, otters, Lady Gaga remixes, twinks, muscle queens, drag shows ... And no other gay club knows how to blend those ingredients into the perfect gay party like Jam does. Wednesday through Sunday, this Marmalade landmark expertly mixes cheap drinks, sexy bartenders and a posse of great DJs—like DJ Harry Cross Jr. and DJ Lishus— in a safe, LGBT-friendly environment.
751 N. 300 West, Salt Lake City, 801-891-1162,
2. Try-Angles
3. The Paper Moon


Copper Common

Best Bar Snacks
Copper Common

Now that Copper Common has arrived on the scene, high-class drinkers no longer have to compromise their standards when they’re hungry for something late at night. From the folks behind The Copper Onion, Copper Common concocts creative sips like the Valentino—a sweet-named tequila-based drink with a spicy margarita-like kick, accented by one giant square ice cube with a jalapeño frozen inside. And if you want more than a drink to keep you company at the gorgeous, window-facing bar, you’re in luck. Copper Common serves oysters and tuna tartare till 1 a.m., as well as a diverse selection of top-shelf bar snacks like Jameson beef jerky, chicken wings (the popular wings from the former Plum Alley) and Iberico Bellota—essentially, a slab of cured ham from a black-hoofed pig that spends its life eating nothing but acorns.
111 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-355-0543

Best Country Welcome
The Westerner

With the biggest dance floor in Utah and three bars, everything about The Westerner screams size. And yet it’s one of the warmest, most welcoming bars you could visit. The Westerner offers free mechanical bull rides and free line-dancing lessons, but you don’t have to be a country-music fan to get into the mood, since the frequent live bands play all genres of music. And even if you’re not ready to do-si-do or take on the bull, it’s plenty fun to sit back and live vicariously through those who are.
3360 S. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, 801-972-5447,


Poplar Street Pub

Best Post-Concert/Game Spot
Poplar Street Pub
They say location is the most important thing for a business, but Popular Street Pub hasn’t just sat back and let its proximity to both Pioneer Park (home of Twilight Concert Series) and EnergySolutions Arena (home of the Jazz and huge concerts) carry it. Poplar’s innovative menu of hearty pub snacks mixed with fancier options (like secret chile verde sauce and an entire team of veggie burgers) means that your whole crew will be satisfied when you stop by to replace all the calories you burned at the game, walking up stairs and yelling at the ref. And Poplar’s lineup of local beers from Squatters, Epic and Wasatch, plus its massive back patio, often turns first-time visitors into lifetime fans.
242 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-532-2715,
2. Lucky 13
3. Gracie’s

Best Bar Bingo
Piper Down’s

Breaking Bingo Every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Piper Down breaks out Breaking Bingo, a humorous, alcohol-soaked, fast-paced version of the classic nursing-home game. There’s nothing more exhilarating than waiting breathlessly for someone to yell out a number, checking your card and marking it off with an oversize marker. And when that thrill is combined with cheap brews and worthwhile prizes like cash and gift certificates, you have yourself a winner—er, bingo!
1492 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-468-1492,

Best Pool Joint
Fats Grill & Bar
Nothing beats sippin’ on a cold one while playing a game of 9 ball, and for 15 years straight, our readers have voted that Fats Grill & Bar is the best spot in Utah to knock around balls with a big-ass stick. Fats’ seven tables can be reserved for $9 an hour after 7 p.m., but they’re free before then if you want to warm up, so long as you order food. Serious pool sharks can step it up a notch with the cash tourneys on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And even if you don’t win, a full night of pool will be easy on your wallet, thanks to the $1 Natural Lights and $3 Beams.
2182 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9467,
2. X-Wife’s Place
3. Brewvies Cinema Pub

Best Westminster College Bar
Sugar House Pub

Every respectable college should, of course, provide its students with a quality education, but any campus worth its salt also needs a decent drinking spot within walking distance. Thankfully, Westminster College has Sugar House Pub just two blocks away. Any given Friday or Saturday, this neighborhood establishment is packed with Griffins knocking back $3 tequila shots and $3 steins in an attempt to erase any memory of that two-hour British Literature exam they just finished.
1992 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-413-2857,

Best Spicy Margarita
Zest Kitchen & Bar

One of the advantages of being an organic vegetarian restaurant that also doubles as a classy nightclub is that your bartenders are more than qualified to whip up creative, tongue-tickling beverages. Zest Kitchen & Bar’s drink menu is expansive, but the refreshing and spicy jalapeño margarita is a standout. Made with fresh cucumber, jalapeños, lime, reposado tequila and citronage liqueur, this treat is a perfect balance of exotic and traditional. And after a couple of these, you’ll more than likely concoct some exotic, spicy dance moves of your own out on the floor.
275 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-433-0589,

Best New Music Venue
Diabolical Records

This back-alley record store had its first iteration in the 2013 Granary Row summer market as a pop-up shop housed in a former shipping container. Diabolical Records and its selection of hard-to-find vinyls soon proved popular enough to warrant a year-round space. Music devotees also flock to the shop for its frequent transformation into an intimate all-ages music venue for shows from both up-and-coming local bands and under-the-radar national touring bands in genres like rock, punk, noise and metal. In the age of MP3s and bit torrents, it seems crazy that anyone would start a brick & mortar record shop, but owners Alana Boscan and Adam Tye have hit on a model that works.
238 S. Edison St., Salt Lake City, 801-792-9204,

Best Excuse to Drink Daily
X-Wife’s Place

Bartenders at X-Wife’s are used to seeing newcomers have the “a-ha” moment of discovering the very economical pricing of the bar’s spirits and beer. Oftentimes, this is also how a newcomer to this neighborhood bar becomes a regular. Top-shelf spirits like High West Whiskey and 12-year Jameson will run you just $5.25. You can get a shot of fancy-sippin’ Jameson Black Barrel Reserve here for $4—probably what you’d pay for regular Jameson elsewhere, and that’s if you’re lucky. Standard whiskey will run you $2 to $3, and anything on tap is going to cost just about $3.50 at the most—and we’re even talking local craft microbrews. X-Wife’s Place is a bar that’s easy on the wallet, whether you stop in for a post-work game of pool or spend a long day hanging out on the massive back patio.
465 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City, 801-532-1954

Best Place to Shake Up the Routine
Kristauf’s Martini Bar

Some people’s martini orders are as distinctive and personal as their Twitter handles. It’s the same thing every time; that’s what separates a sophisticated, unique drinker from the common lushes. Best not to approach visits to Kristauf’s like that. From frou-frou to badass, there’s a boatload of drinks suiting every taste. Vanilla Bean is nice and sweet. Kimmie Come Lately will fizz you up, citrus-style. And Razberi Cheesecake is exactly what it sounds like. Those are just three of about 3 billion possible martinis at this downtown spot, with more being added to the menu all the time. It’s time to sip into something comfortable.
16 W. Market St. (340 South), Salt Lake City, 801-366-9490,

Best Loud & Local Showcase
SLUG Magazine’s Localized

Time flies when you’re rocking local: Salt Lake Underground turned 25 this year, and the magazine’s monthly Localized showcase for Utah bands has been cranking for—brace yourselves, punks—13 years this May. Give or take some repeats over the years, that’s well over 400 bands that have been given the chance to win over the PBR-sipping music aficionados who read SLUG and frequent host club The Urban Lounge. In 2001, then-writer/organizer Mark Scheering described the new Localized as “a true exposition of some of the best [local] talent, without the downer of competition. Trust me, these shows will not disappoint.” They haven’t yet.
Second weekend of every month at The Urban Lounge,

Best Pub-Quiz Night
Big Shiny Geek Show Pub Quiz
The Big Shiny Geek Show Pub Quiz has set itself apart from the others by being a loose and goofy night that’s still smart and, naturally, geeky. Each Wednesday, Big Shiny Robot (and City Weekly) writer Bryan Young and Geek Show panelist Shannon Barnson present eight rounds of questions about hard-core nerd-dom and current events laced with foul language and humor. Teams play with the goal of winning cheap prizes and a 4-foot trophy made out of a spittoon and a propane tank welded together. Oh, and you get to write your name on it, too!
Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Lucky 13, 135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418
2. Geeks Who Drink, Piper Down
3. Geeks Who Drink, Gracie’s

Best New Dinner & a Movie
Movie Grille

Ogden’s Movie Grille understands how to consolidate the classic meal & a movie date night. Yes, being able to order food with your film isn’t entirely unheard of in Utah, but Ogdenites can now savor a true restaurant experience in conjunction with their flicks thanks to this new theater/restaurant combo. Patrons can enjoy the latest theatrical releases while kicking back in reclining leather seats, and have their grub—whether it’s artisan pizza, burgers or hot, fresh paninis—and drinks (alcoholic or non) delivered right to their seats.
2293 Grant Ave., Ogden, 801-621-4738,

Best Sports Bar
The Highland Lumpy’s was the first on the scene, Lumpy’s South gives Sandy residents reason to cheer, and the downtown Lumpy’s set the standard for sports bars, with TVs in every booth and in pretty much every direction your eyeballs can rotate, plus three giant projector screens on the main floor. All three Lumpy’s are where fans of NASCAR, UFC, college hoops, NBA, NFL and Extreme Midget Wrestling gather to watch “the” game. When it comes to being a champion for all sports, Lumpy’s is the Bo Jackson of bars.
Multiple locations,
2. ‘Bout Time Pub & Grub
3. Legends

Best Place to Meet the Neighbors
The Leprechaun Inn

Truly a neighborhood bar, The Lep can serve as the solution to whatever need you might have—a spot to grab a quiet afternoon drink after a round of errands, or a place to meet new friends while enjoying whiskey around one of the new patio’s fireplaces on a winter day. Whenever you go, you’re sure to hear the sound of laughter, from the pool tables to the crowds gathered around the big-screen TV for football and the group of co-workers meeting for their regular Friday lunch.
4700 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-268-3294,

Best All-Ages Venue
Kilby Court
No matter what music genre was popular at the time, no matter who owned or operated it, and no matter what new venues opened nearby, Kilby Court has always been the best place for music lovers of any age to see rising acts. And playing Kilby has become a rite of passage for local musicians as well. The garage-like space, with its outdoor patio and bonfire hangout, is both one of the most intimate spaces and popular places the city has to offer. As the venue turns 15 this year, it’s safe to say it’s become an institution of local music destined to last another 15.
741 S. Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, 801-364-3538,
2. The Shred Shed
3. In the Venue

Best Nightclub For Adults

Somewhere between amateur night and geezerpalooza lies Habits, a locally unique, classy nightspot where the dress code isn’t just “turn your baseball cap around and pull up your pants,” the atmosphere exudes cool elegance, the drinks are classic, and the menu extends far beyond whatever fits in the deep-fryer. Owners Bill Carter and his wife, Jody, are among the last of a thinning breed of nightclub pros who defined the classy era when going out meant going out dressing to the nines. Now, that’s alternative is this day and age!
832 E. 3900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-268-2228,

Best Drink Challenge
Lonestar Saloon’s Stick Shot Challenge

Drinking games are best when they test one’s skills, mental fortitude and gumption. And The Stick at the Lonestar Saloon is a challenge that tests the skills and coordination of not one but three diminished participants. After the liquor of their choice is poured into three plastic shot glasses attached to the flat side of a hockey stick, three drinkers must then lift the shots to their open, baby-bird-like mouths and gulp. Time it correctly, and eternal glory is yours. If your timing is off by a millisecond, then you and possibly your friends get a burning shot poured all over your faces. Cheers!
3153 W. 2100 South, West Valley City, 801-972-0616


Willie's Lounge

Best Dive Bar
Willie’s Lounge
The unofficial symbol of Willie’s Lounge is the “Diver Down” flag, which is open to many a clever interpretation. There are plenty of dirtier dumps that would qualify as “true” local dives—Willie’s actually cleans up real nice—but this Main Street hangout embodies the spirit like few others: It’s a true neighborhood bar in a residential area; the drink specials are irrelevant, since everything’s cheap; as much (if not more) attention has been paid to the smoking patio as the inside décor; and the crowd is a diverse mix of youngsters, oldsters and in-between-sters every night of the week. 1716 S. Main, Salt Lake City,
2. Cheers to You
3. Twilite Lounge

Best Cheap Drinks
Cheers to You
Little is inexpensive in downtown Salt Lake City anymore, which makes a throwback bar like Cheers to You such a sweet deal—a handful of bucks go as far now as they did back when Bob Brown opened his original joint on Main Street in 1997. The drink menu isn’t complicated—draft beer of varying sizes, a few bottles, shots, a Mind Eraser if you’re feeling extravagant—and neither is the math: $20 + some raucous karaoke = a great night out. How could it get any cheaper? Maybe a pal has named you on Cheers’ Buy a Friend a Drink board.
315 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-575-6400; 7642 S. State, Midvale, 801-566-0871,
2. Bongo
3. Willie’s Lounge

Best Rock Reign
The Royal

When the former owner of Liquid Joe’s and members of local band Royal Bliss joined forces in the name of rock, one of Salt Lake City’s newest and best venues for live music was born. The Royal features a professional sound stage, outdoor seating and a huge sports bar, which makes it the perfect host for local rockers like American Hitmen, King Niko and, of course, Royal Bliss.
4760 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City, 801-590-9940,

Best Live Music Club
The State Room
The State Room may be a live-music “club,” but the emphasis is definitely more on the live music. It seemed like a crazy (for Utah, anyway) idea when it opened five years ago—an intimate room that captures the upscale, adult vibe of summer venues like Red Butte Garden, and books a year-round roster of artists that reads like a music critic’s bucket list? With a full bar, no less? It was a gamble that paid off not only for the venue, but for Salt Lake City as well: Every major metropolitan city should have a prestige music venue, and we have ours in The State Room.
638 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-596-3560,
2. The Urban Lounge
3. The Depot

Best O-Town Rooftop

Alleged, housed in a former brothel, is an exciting new addition to Ogden’s historic 25th Street. The focus is firmly local-first: The interior is dressed with fantastic local art, cover charges are waived if you bring in a receipt from dinner at a local restaurant, and PBR is the only nonlocal beer offered. But the crown jewel of this fine establishment is its modern, multilevel rooftop patio looking out over downtown Ogden.
201 25th St., Ogden, 801-990-0692,

Best Night & Day Club

It’s hard to compartmentalize a life, but Gracie’s, with its two levels, three separate rooms and two massive patios, makes it easier. The patio can be the scene of a refined business lunch as you discuss next month’s budget over an arugula & beet salad and glasses of Pinot Grigio. After work, head to the booths upstairs for a round of fancy cocktails and small plates with your girlfriends. On weekends, you can return for curry burgers, beer and sports on Gracie’s giant upstairs projection screen, then transition downstairs to listen to a DJ and meet someone new. Next morning, you’ll be back for a restorative brunch of creme brulee French toast or ancho-cheddar biscuits & gravy—every day at Gracie’s is as good as it gets.
326 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-819-7565,

Best Great Outdoors Indoors
Campfire Lounge

When you don’t have time for a full-blown camping experience, Campfire Lounge can provide a pretty close substitute; it’s the closest thing Sugar House residents have to enjoying a drink in the great outdoors. With a starry indoor mural, dog-friendly patio, camping-inspired grub and cheap drinks, this new Sugar House watering hole is a welcome addition to the revitalized 2100 South area, and it’s certainly better than drinking in your backyard.
837 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-3325,

Best Karaoke
Cruzrs Saloon
Karaoke is everywhere in Salt Lake City, but few clubs go off like Cruzrs Saloon on a Friday or Saturday night. This Holladay club is one of the few in the valley that dedicates the whole weekend to discovering future American Idols and/or Idiots, inspiring equally vocal crowd participation with the wannabe singers on the stage. It helps that the booze is reasonably priced, the food is tasty and there are TVs everywhere, should you need a distraction from the pop stylings up front.
3939 S. Highland Drive, Holladay, 801-272-1903,
2. The Tavernacle
3. Piper Down

Best After-Work Refuge
Johnny’s On Second

After a long day of busting your ass, nothing beats Johnny’s on Second when it comes to loosening the tie (or decorative scarf). With free pool every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and cheap drink deals like the $4 shot and beer combo (Canadian Host with your choice of select drafts), plus the super-economical $4 cheesebread, Johnny’s is a never-fail option for kicking your feet up after the 9 to 5 grind.
165 E. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-746-3334,

Best Pre-Game Spot
Lucky 13
If it were any closer to Smith’s Ballpark, it’d be a concession stand. Salt Lake Bees fans have it better than all other local sports nuts because they can pre-game at Lucky 13 with a cold stein and the best burgers in the valley (literally, the Best Burgers, as voted by our readers several years over). You can’t beat a summer evening on the Lucky 13 patio, drinking and noshing until the first inning, or maybe the second, or …
135 W. 1300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-487-4418,
2. Poplar Street Pub
3. Gracie’s

Best Ogden Club
Brewskis is an O-town institution because it’s a bar of many dimensions: A great local hangout with tasty, well-priced drinks that pair nicely with an equally scrumptious menu of pizzas and sandwiches (try the meatball) to match. A music hub for local and touring acts, plus the delightful Saturday-night time warp to the ‘80s provided by The Breakfast Klub cover band. A game room that has a TV screen that’s 15 damned feet across, so big that watching boxing matches will make you afraid that pixels of blood will land in your nachos. It’s a bar that’ll keep everyone dancing, cheering and drinking the night away.
244 25th St., Ogden, 801-394-1713,
2. Alleged
3. City Club

Best Referees
Maggie McGee’s

Usually the most reviled figures in sports, at Maggie’s, referees come out looking a lot better. The drink-slinging staff at this east-side sports bar all don the zebra stripes, and the excellent service they provide gives patrons no reason to scream and shout—beyond, at least, at who’s playing on the 20-plus TVs, or if you’ve elected to sing a post-hard-core number during the nightly karaoke that kicks off after 9.
6253 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-273-9899,

Best Place to Split a Beer
The Beerhive

Its Main Street location makes it a popular place for a standard after-work brew, but to not peruse The Beerhive’s huge menu of beers, sorted by type, would be a big mistake. Beers from all over the world are on that list, and the best way to try them all is to bring along a friend to split the larger 700ml bottles. With the bar’s unique layer of ice keeping your glass cold, the hours will fly by, and it won’t be too many visits before your palate will be able to detect notes that others barley notice.
128 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-364-4268

Best Poptails
Keys on Main

Being the dueling-pianos epicenter of Main Street is one thing, but Keys on Main takes its pop obsession to the next level with sweet themed cocktails, like the Britney Bitch, the Crocodile Rock, the Bohemian Rhapsody, the California Girl, the Sweet Caroline, the Friends In Low Places and, of course, the Lady Gaga (meat-free, relax). But the coup de grace encore drink would have to be the Keys mojito, a rum-based crowd-pleaser replete with mint leaves and sugar, and available in six flavors (including, naturally, Rock Coconut).
242 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3638,

Best Musical Numbers
The Tavernacle

The Tavernacle pioneered the dueling-pianos concept in Salt Lake City in 2002, and all these years later, they’ve scored another local first: making bingo sing. On Mondays and Tuesdays, Bingo Karaoke takes over the club for three hours of musical numbers over just calling numbers, and the rules are still easy to follow even after a drink or two. You may not always know what you’ll be singing, but that’s half the fun. The other half: prizes!
201 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-519-8900,

Best UFC Bar
The Point After

There are other sports bars that regularly show Ultimate Fighting Championship events, but The Point After has them beat for pure screen immersion: with more than 30 HD TVs—and that’s not even counting the projection screens—you’ll feel like you’re right there in the hexagon (minus the threat of a kick-punch to the head). The pub grub is better here than in most jock hangouts, as well—items like the teriyaki steak fingers and chicken tenders are great separate, but your Ultimate Food Choice is The Point Platter, which loads up those plus hot wings, mozzarella sticks, onion rings and veggies.
5445 S. 900 East, Murray, 801-266-9552,

Best Smokin’ Nights
Huka Bar & Grill

The Utah Indoor Clean Air Act was supposed to be the death knell for Murray hotspot Huka Bar & Grill, when House Bill 245 inexplicably lumped relatively clean hookahs and e-cigarettes in with Marlboros and Camels. But here it stands years later, blowing it in the face of The Man with Tokin’ Tuesdays, Smokin’ Saturdays and five more nights of flavor-puffing goodness, thanks to a grandfather extension into 2017 (at which time, we’re sure, Huka will pull another trick out of its pipe). And if you thought we’d get through this without a quip about the bar’s smokin’-hot waiters and bartenders, you were quite mistaken.
151 E. 6100 South, Murray, 801-281-4852,

Best Open-Door Policy
The Paper Moon

With its status as Utah’s only bona fide lesbian bar, Paper Moon could easily be a lot more exclusive than it is—with entry granted only through a hidden alleyway door after the correct handshake. But instead, the owners of this laid-back space welcome everyone—and they mean everyone. No matter your sexual orientation, gender or sports team, you can come as you are and find friendly service and a no-hassle drink. Throughout the week, there’s also tons to do and see in this shrine to the color pink—found everywhere from the walls to the felt on the pool tables—including karaoke, an open-mic night, poker, drag shows and more. But the place really gets pumping on the weekends, when it’s packed with happy people dancing their stresses away. If there were a password to get into Paper Moon, it would be “Point me toward the beer!”
3737 S. State, Salt Lake City, 801-713-0678,

Best Musical Ambiance
Velour Live Music Gallery

There are few things that are more of a drag than hearing and watching some beautiful live music in a dingy concrete hole. The fact that Velour’s interior is as appealing as the high-caliber local music that happens inside is part of what makes it so special. From the many antique knick-knacks to the illuminated stained-glass windows behind the stage to the utterly charming VIP section, owner Corey Fox has left no visual detail untouched by his unique style. All the elements combine to form a suitable atmosphere for performances by some of the best artists in Provo’s vibrant music scene, many of whom have gone on to hit the big time outside of Utah.
135 N. University Ave., Provo, 801-818-2263,

Best Murray Super Club
5 Monkeys

There are plenty of bars in the People’s Republic of Murray, but only one hosts pool tourneys, karaoke, DJs and hard-rocking local bands every week and the occasional comedy night, magic show and even midget-wrestling spectaculars, all the while functioning as a sports bar, as well: 5 Monkeys, mid-town’s ultimate exterior-looks-are-deceiving club. 5 Monkeys’ spacious, slick interior, priced-right drinks and an enticing pub-grub menu (the Monkey Wings are better than the name would lead you to believe) makes it your one stop to rock in Murray.
7 E. 4800 South, Murray, 801-266-1885,

Best Ladies (That Rock) Night
The Woodshed

On the first Friday of every month at The Woodshed, local electro-pop duo Minx hosts Ladies That Rock, a night based around themselves and two other female-fronted bands or solo artists—and no cover charge for women (guys get in for $5, still a bargain). Those not paying attention to Utah music may be surprised to learn that Minx and The Woodshed have carried on Ladies That Rock quite successfully for more than a year now adhering to this theme, booking girl-centric bands of all genres—not just rock—with very few repeat appearances and a frequently full house. There are no “drink specials” for the ladies, but the booze is so inexpensive at The Woodshed that it matters not.
60 E. 800 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0805,

Best Bar to Rub Elbows With the Media Elite

After a long day of telling it like it is and reading disparaging online comments, where do Salt Lake City’s weary reporters go? Well, many head to Junior’s for a little relief in the form of a libation. It might be Junior’s location—within spitting distance of both KUTV 2’s and City Weekly’s newsrooms—that attracts these newshounds. Or it might simply be the bar’s dedication to serving up affordable suds in a judgment-free, low-key atmosphere. Either way, just about any day of the week, you’re more than likely to find your favorite news anchor, weatherman or columnist unwinding at the end of Junior’s bar, where—don’t worry—everything is off the record.
30 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-322-0318

Best Unknown Draper Drinkery
Leatherheads Sports Bar & Grill

Who knew? Draper used to be full of farms and classically closed minds. But, lo! Hidden right there in plain sight amid the many factory stores comprising the Draper Outlet Mall is Leatherhead’s, a full-blown bar & grill that you’d perhaps expect in downtown Salt Lake City—anywhere but Draper. But let’s not get picky. Leatherheads’ main attraction (to us, at least) is a full-length, fully stocked bar. Yeah, in Draper. As it is an eatery first—standard pub fare—kids and families are welcome. A welcome find, indeed.
12101 S. Outlet Drive, Draper, 801-523-1888,

Best Sunset Sipping
Legends Sports Pub

After a long day in the air-conditioned chill of the office, nothing sounds better than relaxing in the sun with a cool drink—till you get outside and realize how blazingly hot that sun is. You can still have fun in the open air—just head to Legend’s. Its patio is so bordered by trees that you won’t even see it as you pull up, but you’ll be happy to be in on the secret once you’re in the shade of those trees with one of Legend’s creative mixed beverages in your hand—may we suggest the refreshing cucumber tonic?
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3598,

Best One-Size-Fits-All Venue
The Complex

The Complex isn’t just a prime spot to see any type of show your heart desires—it’s Optimus Prime. What we mean is, there’s more than meets they eye. But really: No other venue in Utah has the insane ability to accommodate just about any size concert or function by effortlessly shifting its walls, expanding or shrinking its stages and, most importantly, maintaining a sense of calm and togetherness, thanks to the all-around friendly and accommodating staff. The Complex hosts national touring bands, local talks shows, even adult recreation league dodge-ball games. These guys know the importance of staying as adaptable, versatile and agile as Utah’s music and entertainment scene itself.
536 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 888-316-5387,


The Barrel Room

Best Basement Jam Space
The Barrel Room

In 2013, Bryan Borreson, the owner of The Hotel, transformed his multilevel bar’s basement—formerly reserved for pool tables—into a live-music hub. The classy space, with its speakeasy-style décor, is now an attractive spot to hear local and national bands and DJs. The Barrel Room is appreciated by local live-music fans, as well as the ghosts of the historical building, who, we’re sure, welcomed the update with phantom applause.
155 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-478-4310,